“Not all those who wander are lost” J.R.R. Tolkien
Think back to this time last year; were you planning this far in advance? Could you have imagined your current state? Sometimes we make plans and execute them to the letter, other times we may simply enjoy the moment and see where it takes us. However, even at the best of times, deciding which path to follow and what to focus on can be challenging.
Of the many choices we make on a given day, perhaps one we rarely think about relates to our mood and / or mindset. When a major event occurs, our reaction and mood is fairly instinctive. For example, if something upsetting happens, we feel sad and vice versa with pleasing news. These are clearly normal reactions and the process that follows them should be respected. Nevertheless, there are opportunities when we can choose our mood and outlook, perhaps even in spite of an internal issue.
Somewhat predictably, when we feel happy or sad, our posture reflects our mood. Perhaps surprisingly though, this link works both ways and our posture can greatly affect our mood. This is known as ‘embodied cognition’ and it postulates that a confident posture such as standing tall can trigger hormonal releases which make us feel better and vice versa with poor posture. As such, the way we carry ourselves on a day-to-day basis can have surprising effects.
Nelson Mandela once said, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears”. Whether we apply this to our careers, relationships or even hobbies; past experiences, societal pressure and financial constraints will inevitably influence our decisions. As logical as it may be to choose a safe option compared to a riskier one, this may not be quite as soul enriching in the long-term. Perhaps blazing a trail and failing may yield greater life lessons than following conventional wisdom and succeeding. Admittedly, this is an idealistic view of the world and many of our choices are not that simple. However, it would be foolish to base all of our major decisions on a fear of failure and not dive in at the deep end once in a while!
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination” Jimmy Dean